Albatec Racing witnessed two of their drivers finish inside the top four in the Supercar Final at the 2016 Euro RX of Spain, the penultimate round of the 2016 FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercars.
With Euro RX returning to the Barcelona Grand Prix circuit for the second year in a row, prior knowledge of the circuit was a vital advantage and this was evident as the Albatec Trio were among the top ten fastest driver during Qualifying, however this was not without incident along the way. Tommy Rustad rolled his Peugeot 208 RX Supercar after contact with the tyre barrier at turn three during Q2 whilst Andy Scott would finish Q4 in 16th pace after being inside the top ten positions beforehand.
The result of this saw all three drivers inside the top twelve with Scott, Rustad and Jerome Grosset-Janin all racing for a place in the Final during Semi-Final Two. Whilst Grosset-Janin led the race with Rustad in pursuit, Scott suffered from contact with Peter Hedstrom on lap one which left him wide at the hairpin and then further contact after from Tamas Karai, which would leave Scott in sixth place and to miss out on a place in the Final. Taking their joker laps on the final lap, Grosset-Janin and Rustad would go on to the Final where Rustad would take second place behind winner Kevin Hansen whilst his French team-mate would secure fourth place at the flag.
Andy Scott was happy with his own performance and the Teams performance over the weekend:
“What a weekend it’s been. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pretty sure a clean and tidy approach was needed and that proved correct. We had a few issues in practice but I was happy with my pace in Q1 and Q2, although starting from the right hand side both times meant they weren’t the easiest races. Q3 and Q4 weren’t so good as I felt I had the pace to be comfortably into the semi-finals rather than scraping through in twelfth. However, it’s great to qualify for the second race in succession. I didn’t get the best start from the back row but managed to get up to third, but then took a hit from another car which bent the suspension and compromised my performance,” explained Scott.
“From a team perspective, it’s great to come away with second and fourth, but I’m sure Jérôme will leave Spain feeling disappointed as today, particularly, he showed real race-winning pace. He was very unlucky in the Final as he suffered some pretty harsh treatment from the others. Tommy started the weekend well but his small error in Q2 caused major damage and meant a long night for the boys. They did a great job though, and Tommy did amazingly over the final two qualifying races to progress. He had a slight handbrake problem which slowed his pace, but despite that he came through it to take a well-deserved second.”
Tommy Rustad proclaimed himself happy with his best finish of the 2016 Euro RX season so far:
“It’s not often you can say that second place is as good as a win, but after the crash in Q2 finishing second today is like a victory – it’s certainly my best ever second place. All credit must go to Andy and the entire team who worked so incredibly hard to repair the damage we suffered; I made a small mistake and was very disappointed in myself, I just prayed that the car wasn’t too badly damaged and they did a great job to get us back on track,” explained Rustad. “We had the pace pretty much all weekend, and today we were able to improve across the final two races to put us back into a qualifying position. The car was great all weekend, just a few small adjustments but overall I’m happy to be back challenging for race victory.”
Jerome Grosset-Janin took the positives away from a difficult end to a good weekend:
“I’m very happy with the car, the team has worked hard since Sweden and Norway where we struggled a bit to find the pace, now we have a car that can challenge for race wins. The final didn’t go as I’d planned of course, but it was good to see we’ve got the potential so I’m happy about that. I’d like to say big congratulations to Tommy. After his roll yesterday the team worked hard overnight to rebuild the car and together they did a great job today to get a podium finish which he and they deserve.”
The team will now prepare for the next outing in the 2016 MSA British Rallycross Championship where James Grint will take part in the penultimate round of the series whilst Philippe Maloigne will race in this weekend’s round of the French Rallycross Championship.